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Sodrel ready to retake House seat

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By Vince Luecke

Calls on U.S. to lead the world, not follow others

TELL CITY - Former Ninth District Congressman Mike Sodrel's keynote talk to local Republicans Thursday was as much about civics and the role of the Unites States in world affairs as about regaining the seat he lost two years ago to Democrat Baron Hill.

The main speaker for the Perry County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner at Bill and Dave's Smokin' Pit, Sodrel asked his audience to consider the risks faced by the nation's founding fathers as they prepared to sign the Declaration Independence.

"They put everything they had on the line, their lives and their fortunes," Sodrel said.

Men like Washington and Jefferson were wealthy land-owners who could have lost everything had the struggle for freedom ended differently.

"We inherited liberty from our forefathers," he added.

Sodrel also talked about the role of the U.S. on the world stage. Too many leaders in Congress, he said, are willing to be led by world opinion, Sodrel argued, happy to follow European views on health care or immigration. Republicans, Sodrel said, want the United States to lead the world.

"We can find American solutions to problems, not European or Canadian ones."

Sodrel is expected to face Hill for a fourth time in November, having lost his first bid for office in 2002. He defeated Hill in 2004 only to lose the seat in 2006. The Ninth House District remains one of the most competitive in the nation.

Americans voiced their desire for change in 2006, Sodrel said, turning his attention to the current Congress, but have become disappointed with the results.

"You hear a lot about change today. But more big government isn't change. It's more of the same," he added.

Addressing high oil prices and spiraling health-care costs, Sodrel called himself a "practical" environmentalist who wants to protect resources for future generations while protecting American jobs.

Sodrel advocated giving tax breaks and financial incentives to individuals and companies that invent cleaner energy sources. Sodrel also pushed for secure U.S. borders and a simplified health-care system that would allow Americans to shop for plans with clear benefits.

Candidates for the Ninth District House seat have been busy lately. Hill was one of several speakers at an April 6 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Spencer County, as was Gretchen Clearwater, another Democrat seeking that party's nomination May 6.